Friday, November 11, 2011

Random blatherings and a contest

I procrastinate way too much. Let's not talk about my goals for the year. Let's just say that I got distracted.

Have mostly stopped using facebook, because it annoys me. Thinking of posting "status updates" here instead. So...

Yesterday, my faith in humanity was restored just a little bit. I had to be at the library when it opened, and there was a line to get in.

Then it was shot to hell again when I went to the grocery store without a reusable bag, so I bought a cheap one (and cute, too!), and the checker promptly put it into a plastic bag. ::*headdesk*::

Finally, for reasons that I won't get into here, I bought a unicorn lollipop mold. Someday, in the near future, I will have chocolate unicorn lollipops. Maybe even tonight, as I have more energy than I should. I think that I will have a contest, rules to be determined when I think about it, but comments will be required for entry, so leave a comment if you want a unicorn lollipop. Comments may or may not be judged on entertainment value, so entertain me!

Edit: There will also be a moustache lollipop awarded. So comment away!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Failure, a.k.a. I Love Lists

Well, I didn't manage to finish all of the sweaters in 12 months. I still have four to go, all relatively close to being done. That said, I definitely spent a lot of time knitting in 2010. The list is as follows:
  • Eight sweaters, one of which had to be frogged about halfway before it could be finished
  • Seven blanket squares*, and seamed the blanket - it was much more work than I expected
  • Four partial sweaters - all more than halfway done
  • Two pairs of fingerless mitts and one pair of cabled mittens
  • Two and three-quarters baby bibs
  • Two and a quarter scarves
  • One and a half shawls
  • One Very Large felted bag
  • Half a pair of socks
*I think I made additional blanket squares for other blankets, but can't quite remember and didn't keep track. Maybe that was 2009.

Reasons for failure:
  • Too many projects. I worked on many not-sweater projects for various reasons, and frequently had more than one sweater in progress at the same time. I know that different situations require different projects, but I feel like I didn't finish enough before starting something new.
  • Poor time management. I purchased a smartphone in April, and I think that really affected my knitting. I found (and still find!) myself playing solitaire more frequently than I should. Also, it is very easy to put down my knitting to look at the email message that just arrived. Or to browse Ravelry, just because I can.
  • Just plain laziness.
Things I learned:
  • I really like knitting sweaters, preferably seamless ones.
  • While I love hand-painted/kettle-dyed yarn, it is a PITA to switch skeins frequently. Will consider yarn selection a bit better.
  • I can knit A LOT! (Hmmm, maybe I should add a pair of Alots to the list.) When I participated in NaKniSweMo in Nov 2008, it was definitely a challenge, and I found it much easier to knit a sweater in a month now. And back then I spent weekends "working" on call, spending Friday night and all day Saturday sitting in an office knitting.
  • My knitting has improved in the past few years. My finished pieces, while still not perfect, look a lot better than my NaKniSweMo sweater.
Anyway, I still have hopes of finishing the mostly-done sweaters in January. But first, I think I need to test knit a shawl, because I have a serious case of startitis and all this finishing makes me want to start something new. Unfortunately, the yarn I had planned to use is a bit short on yardage, so I need to spend some time in the stash room figuring out what else to use. Will need to finish Spoke first, because the needle for the shawl is holding Spoke stitches ready for the edging. (And why, oh *why* did I work on Lia's sleeves yesterday when chances were good I could have finished Spoke?)

So. Goals for 2011. I want to focus on pairs, and attempt a sort of 52-pair plunge. That said, I do not want to be nearly as strict as the Official 52-pair plunge people, who insist that all pairs should be socks. Plus, I want to operate on a calendar year rather than the arbitrary year that they use, so this is a self-challenge rather than a group KAL.

Guidelines and Goals:
  1. While I want to complete a pair each week, I am not limiting pairs to socks. Mitts, slippers, gloves, shawls, hats, and even bags can count as pairs. As long as there are two items, it's a pair. Items do not necessarily need to be identical, but do need to be similar to each other to count. A beanie and a balaclava cannot count as a pair, but two shawls of similar yardage and same weight of yarn will count. (I was tempted to try to knit 12 shawls in 2011, but that will wait for 2012. Along with the Autumn Rose pullover.)
  2. WIPs will count. This is not cheating, this is encouragement to finish some of the things that have been languishing in my WIPs pile for far too long. Like socks! And the slippers that have been sitting around for two three EEP!!! four years waiting to have the cuffs sewn on.
  3. In 2010, I discovered that I really like knitting sweaters. It was very tempting to extend my sweater-a-month challenge through June, especially since I didn't quite finish. I'd like to knit at least two sweaters, preferably four, in 2011, and those may or may not count towards the pair goal; I haven't decided yet. See Rule #1, similar weight/yardage sweaters can count, if I decide to count them.
  4. Stash knit down! While Christmas 2011 will be another year of slipper gifts, and I will need to order yarn for those, I'd like to knit as much as possible from stash.
  5. I'd also like to get back to cross stitch, at least a little. Ever since I learned to knit, my cross stitch projects have languished, and I'd like to finish at least two small cross stitch projects in 2011. I don't think these will count towards the pairs, but it's another personal goal.
  6. Another personal goal is to read at least 100 books in 2011. If 2010 was any indication, I can still read a decent bit while knitting a lot.
Anyway, time to go dig around in the stash to see if I can find yarn for the test knit. Then finish Spoke to reclaim the needle. And if I can knit two shawls, that's a pair!

Perhaps I won't get to finish Spoke today after all. It has been claimed. That's what I get for leaving it on the floor.
Spoke and Zuzu

Also, I might as well include the 2010 book list here, since there are so many lists already. In 2010,
  • I fell a little bit in love with Rob Sheffield,
  • read some charming but incredibly poorly-edited books about what might happen when Buffy the Vampire Slayer turns into a soccer mom,
  • was amazed by how Jill Ciment can create such amazing characters in such small books;
  • and laughed at several rewritings of classic novels.
I read some excellent books, and some trash, too. Fun stuff! Here is the list:

1. The Stupidest Angel, Christopher Moore
2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
3. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
4. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bible!, Jonathan Goldstein
5. The River King, Alice Hoffman
6. Venus Envy, Rita Mae Brown
7. Snow Falling on Cedars, David Guterson
8. Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her, Melanie Rehak
9. Uncle John's Unsinkable Bathroom Reader, the Bathroom Readers' Institute (90% read in 2009)
10. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
11. Tailchaser's Song, Tad Williams
12. Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
13. Kit's Law, Donna Morrissey
14. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
15. Latitudes of Melt, Joan Clark
16. An Ordinary Man: An Autobiography, Paul Rusesabagina with Tom Zoellner
17. Soulless, Gail Carriger
18. I Don't Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust funders, Pornographers, Faux Sensitive Hipsters, Felons, and Other Guys I've Dated, Julie Klausner
19. The Rapture, Liz Jensen
20. Sand in My Bra and other Misadventures, Jennifer L. Leo, ed.
21. Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle, Daniel L. Everett
22. Einstein's Telescope: The Hunt for Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the Universe, Evalyn Gates
23. The Tattoo Artist, Jill Ciment
24. The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back, Charles Pellegrino
25. Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story, Leonie Swann
26. The Glass Room, Simon Mawer
27. Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom, Julie Kenner
28. California Demon, Julie Kenner
29. Demons Are Forever, Julie Kenner
30. Deja Demon, Julie Kenner
31. The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World, Shelley Emling
32. The Law of Falling Bodies, Jill Ciment
33. Half a Life, Jill Ciment
34. Heroic Measures, Jill Ciment
35. Demon Ex Machina, Julie Kenner
36. Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier
37. The Wood Wife, Terri Windling
38. Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels, Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan
39. The Island, Victoria Hislop
40. Changes, Jim Butcher
41. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith
42. The Help, Kathryn Stockett
43. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, Helen Simonson
44. Kushiel's Dart, Jacqueline Carey
45. The Swan Thieves, Elizabeth Kostova
46. Bite Me: A Love Story, Christopher Moore
47. Just Kids, Patti Smith
48. The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova
49. Stones from the River, Ursula Hegi
50. To Love and to Cherish, Patricia Gaffney
51. A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
52. Ahab's Wife, or, The Star-Gazer, Sena Jeter Naslund
53. The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
54. The Charlotte Gilman Perkins Reader, ed. Ann J. Lane
55. i know i am, but what are you?, Samantha Bee
56. The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Mohsin Hamid
57. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, Daniel Okrent
58. In the Forest of Forgetting, Theodora Goss
59. The Water-Method Man, John Irving
60. Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, A.E. Moorat
61. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, Beth Hoffman
62. Windflower, Nick Bantock
63. Bullet Points, Mark Watson
64. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
65. The Girl who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson
66. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, Stieg Larsson
67. Bitten, Kelley Armstrong
68. Little Bee, Chris Cleaves
69. Foreign Correspondence, Geraldine Brooks
70. A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
71. Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Cory Doctorow
72. Little Vampire Women, Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina
73. The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers
74. McKay's Bees, Thomas McMahon
75. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls, Steve Hockensmith
76. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, Rob Sheffield
77. Changeless, Gail Carriger
78. Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks
79. The Sheriff of Yrnameer, Michael Rubens
80. Jane Slayre, Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin
81. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Suskind
82. The Believers, Zoe Heller
83. Heart-Shaped Box, Joe Hill
84. Vampire Vow, Michael Schiefelbein
85. Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, Rob Sheffield
86. The Darkest Night, Gena Schowalter
87. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
88. Little Women and Werewolves, Porter Grand
89. The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time, Jeff Deck and Benjamin D
90. Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures, Robert K. Wittman and John Schiffman
91. Only Revolutions, Mark Danielewski
92. Mansfield Park and Mummies, Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian
93. Mr. Jefferson and the Giant Moose, Lee Alan Dugatkin
94. I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry Pratchett
95. Two Truths and a Lie, Katrina Kittle
96. The Passage, Justin Cronin
97. John Dies at the End, David Wong
98. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, Richard Wrangham
99. If I Stay, Gayle Forman
100. Half Broke Horses, Jeannette Walls
101. The Blessings of the Animals, Katrina Kittle
102. Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Mary Roach
103. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers
104. And the Heart Says Whatever, Emily Gould
105. Poplollies and Bellibones: A Celebration of Lost Words, Susan Kelz Sperling
106. God's Dog: A Celebration of the North American Coyote, Hope Ryden
107. Palimpsest, Catherynne M. Valente
108. The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science, Douglas Starr
109. Kraken, China Miéville
110. The Kindness of Strangers, Katrina Kittle
111. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson, Louise Rennison
112. Fallen, Lauren Kate
113. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot: The Autobiography of a Dangerous Man, John Callahan
114. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, Elizabeth Kolbert
115. Side Jobs, Jim Butcher
116. Blameless, Gail Carriger
117. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession, Allison Hoover Bartlett
118. Greywalker, Kat Richardson
119. Rest You Merry, Charlotte MacLeod
120. Bright of the Sky, Kay Kenyon